On the first day of fall, it’s appropriate to write about a closing exhibition that was all summer. At the end of July, in the height of an LA heat wave, artist Gregory Siff had a pretty amazing exhibition in his own workspace with a closing party we were delighted to attend, one that drew throngs to see his work and taste the flavors of an East Coast summer. Egg cream anyone?
Gregory Siff, right, with author.
This is an artist to look for, with cool-as-ice-cream style that makes a sweet treat for art lovers.
“The focus of this idea came from growing up in Rockaway Beach, New York. The more I did work in LA, the more I felt like the ice cream man at the beach. People came to my shows, the come to modern day artists like they’re the ice cream man with a menu of different choices,” he explains. “I was trying to figure out what I could do not to lose that kind of fervor from people, the kind you feel following the ice cream truck around when you’re a kid. I first followed it, now I drive it,” Siff said.
“The periodic table here represents all the things I see in myself and in you,” he explained. In short: his art is not just about himself, it’s also about the viewer. What he sees, you see. And like that ice cream truck with the chocolate jimmy soft serve, you want to see more.
Siff said of this show “I went away from doing abstracts. I wanted to take departure from symbols and faces, I wanted to do something different here, so I used many materials. For a recent piece, “Truth,” I burned sage into the acrylic. I love to use whatever is int he moment. If I’m drinking champagne, I want to add that.”
Asked what’s next for the artist, he replied “I want to combine what everyone ever loved about me with the unknown. I want to uncover the truth. It’s always the greatest hits with artists. I am very experimental, I’m in a very experimental spot right now with no rules.”
Siff worked here in unmixed pigment from Italy, new materials that “explode, not with a brush, but pressed into the surface, breaking into new areas.” A number of his works feature ink, acrylic, and chalk.
Above, Siff turns a jacket to art. Below, party DJ rocks out.
Siff aims for pleasure – the vibe of LA, and the vibe of his art.
It’s not just the ice-cream theme that makes Siff’s work cool, it’s the mix of materials, styles, and edgy fun.
So summer is over – yes, even in LA – but that doesn’t mean you can’t follow the ice cream truck around. Watch for Gregory Siff as he rings that artistic bell.
- Genie Davis; photos: Jack Burke